New Apprenticeships – more young people in Sevenoaks getting skills for the future

Visit to Network Power Training Centre, Sundridge
Visit to Network Power Training Centre, Sundridge

Michael has welcomed new figures showing 490 new apprenticeships were started by people in Sevenoaks last year. In total 1,910 new apprenticeships have been started in the Sevenoaks constituency since 2010.

Across England more than 1.9 million apprenticeships have been started since 2010 – with the number of apprenticeships having more than doubled in this parliament.

As the Prime Minister announced on Monday a future Conservative government would go even further: making a £1 billion commitment to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 and end youth unemployment.

Michael said:  “These figures are great news. 1,910 new apprenticeships since 2010 means more young people in Sevenoaks getting the skills for they’ll need for the future.”

“By making sure, as part of our long-term economic plan, we deliver the best schools and skills for young people the Conservatives are ensuring the next generation have the skills and opportunities they’ll need to get a good job – so they can have a brighter, more secure future ahead of them.”

Supporting Cancer Research

Behind the counter at Cancer Research UK, Sevenoaks
Behind the counter at Cancer Research UK, Sevenoaks

Michael is backing an appeal from Cancer Research UK to help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.  He got stuck into work as a volunteer at the charity’s shop on the High Street in Sevenoaks recently to play his part and show how local people can get involved.

Every year, around 43,100 people are diagnosed with cancer in the South East and predictions show that the number of people with cancer in the UK is set to rise steeply by 2030.  Michael has joined forces with Cancer Research UK to help accelerate the progress the charity is making and highlight the power of research in beating the disease.

He said:  “I’m delighted to support my local Cancer Research UK shops and find out more about the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.   Research is cancer’s number one enemy and it is people like the dedicated volunteers I met in Sevenoaks, who are enabling the charity’s doctors and scientists to keep making huge advances in the battle against the disease.”

“While more of us will be diagnosed with cancer in the future, there is good news. Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK’s work is helping to ensure more men, women and children survive the disease.”

Volunteers and staff at Cancer Research UK, Sevenoaks
Volunteers and staff at Cancer Research UK, Sevenoaks

“So I’m calling on the local community to help Cancer Research UK to beat cancer sooner.  I want to encourage people to show their support in any way they can, whether it’s donating or buying from the charity’s shops, volunteering for a few hours a week, or signing up for a sporting challenge like Race for Life.

Cancer Research UK’s Area Manager, Elaine Hutchins said: “Every step we make towards beating cancer relies on every pound, every hour and every person, so we hope people in Sevenoaks will really get behind us.”

Employment in Swanley

Record levels of employment in Swanley were welcomed by Michael as he hosted his second Jobs Fair in the area.

Unemployment has fallen by 50% since the last General Election; 413 people were unemployed in Swanley at that time. Today that figure is 203.

Michael said:
“It is very encouraging news that more people in Swanley now have the security of a regular wage packet.  But there is more to do and 203 people still unemployed is still too high and that is why I was delighted to be able to host another Jobs Fair in Swanley this year.

“Thanks go to all the companies and organisations that provided sponsorship, support and participation.  I am also grateful to Swanley Town Council for its generous support.”

 

Voting for a EU Referendum

Michael has, today, voted for an EU Referendum. The bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons with 283 votes in favour to 0.

On supporting a referendum, Michael Fallon said:  “People in Sevenoaks feel the EU is heading in a direction we never signed up to – that it’s costing British taxpayers too much and we have lost control of our own affairs.

Today’s lack of participation by Labour and the Liberal Democrats shows that they will not deliver a referendum and UKIP simply cannot. Only a strong, stable Conservative majority government can deliver this chance for the British people to have their say and I will continue to push for the people of Sevenoaks to have their voice heard.”

Badgers Mount Parish Council

Sevenoaks District Councillor John Grint chaired a public meeting in Badgers Mount on 10th October to mark the creation of the new Badgers Mount Parish Council in April 2015.  Previously Badgers Mount has been part of the Parish of Shoreham.  Kent County Councillor Roger Gough and Cllr Philip McGarvey (Vice-Chairman of SDC) were also on the panel of speakers.

Mr Grint said:  “Approval in principle for this new move was given in November 2012 and finalised in July 2014.  The first election of 5 Parish Councillors will take place in May 2015 and the first local precept is being kept at the same level as it was previously.”

“This is a new era for Badgers Mount.  A small working group has been dealing with the formalities but has also recognised the vital importance of engagement with local residents and this is the second public meeting to be arranged with the aim of informing, debating and hopefully encouraging some to stand for election.”

Tribute was paid to Shoreham Parish Council for the care they have lavished on Badgers Mount over many years and for their help, generosity and co-operation to help with this new venture.

Michael spoke about Localism covering central government’s policy, the importance of local democracy and the vital work carried out by parish councils and their councillors at this lowest tier of local government.

 

 

Business is Great Britain

business is great britainSpeaking in support of local businesses at the setting for the final of the British Touring Car Championships held at Brands Hatch from 10-13th October  Michael said:  “The Business is Great Britain campaign, which launched last year, now provides a comprehensive website that makes it easier for small businesses to access the support that will help them grow through exporting, hiring and business planning.  They will also be able to see how services such as those offered through UK Trade & Investment, Growth Accelerator and the National Apprenticeship Service can help their business to grow.”

“Alongside this campaign the Government has unveiled a range of new support this year for small businesses.  It has:

  • Introduced a new Employment Allowance which will put up to £2,000 back into your business:  450,000 small businesses will pay no national insurance at all;
  • boosted the number of apprenticeships to 1.8m since 2010 and driven up the quality of training every apprentice receives.  Grants are now offered of up to £1,500 to support firms that hire an apprentice;
  • Developed Growth Vouchers to help business owners to find and pay for strategic advice to grow their businesses;
  • Introduced a new range of measures to make it easier for people to run a business from home, from updated planning guidance to clearer business rates;
  • Made it easier to access finance.  New Start-up loans have been offered to over 20,-000 businesses and £100m has been drawn down;
  • Helped thousands of businesses to break into new markets, with local support from UKTI’s international trade advisors.”

“This already builds on the significant progress which has been made int he last four years.  This includes:

  • Targeting 3,000 rules to be scrapped or amended – this is the first Government in modern history to reduce the overall amount of regulation, saving businesses over £1.2 billion;
  • Extending small business rate relief until 2015.  This is saving £ millions for small businesses;
  • Introducing the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, R&D tax credits and Annual Investment Allowance;
  • Establishing the British Business Bank – through their finance programmes £782m of additional lending and investment is available to smaller businesses
  • Cutting corporation tax to 20 per cent, making the UK tax system one of the most competitive int he world, the joint lowest in the G20.”

He also welcomed Bill Fox, MD for Kent Business Academy which offers help to businesses looking to improve and grow, Darryl Eales, Advisory Chairman for Lloyds Development Company, Guy Townley from the Intellectual Property Office, Alan Gow, Series Director for BTCC and Nick Kelly, MD of AFIA Ltd who has secured £125,000 from the Escalate fund to help it grow his mobility equipment business.

Brands Hatch – supporting the ‘Business is Great’ campaign


Brands HatchMichael visited the 2014 British Touring Car Championship final road show at Brands Hatch on 10th October to highlight the work of the Business is Great initiative.

The Business is GREAT campaign has been working in partnership with the British Touring Car Championship team Quantel Bifold Racing to support British businesses and raise public awareness of the campaign.

The Business is GREAT Britain campaign features strongly as a team partner. The aim of this campaign is to build confidence amongst small businesses by showcasing inspirational examples of similar sized businesses and Quantel and Bifold are two good examples.

British design and engineering and job creation features prominently in the UK automotive industry.  In 2013 this exceeded £60 billion, an all-time record, and was up 9% on 2012.  The sector expects to take on more than 7,600 apprentices and 1,700 graduates in the next five years.

Apprenticeships: The MG6 touring car has been adapted for the competition by Triple Eight Racing Engineering Limited, a company with a long history of designing, building and racing cars in the BTCC.  The company has grown and supported an apprenticeship programme for a number of years and the current intake worked on the car during the construction stages and will continue to support through servicing and maintenance.

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Rotary Club of Darent Valley

rotary clubMichael met Rotarians and their guests at their new regular lunch venue held at White Oak Indoor Bowls Club, Swanley on 3rd October.  Members had requested a talk based around Michael’s new role as Defence Secretary.

As all knew, it had been an extremely busy summer, with Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa dominating the agenda, as well at the NATO summit and the draw down of troops and equipment from Afghanistan.  We now face a direct threat from Islamic extremism.  The government is working closely with our allies to drive back, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIL and what it stands for.

Michael has already had two trips to visit servicemen and women in Afghanistan; met the RAF crews in Cyprus – whose tireless efforts saved lives by delivering aid in Iraq and visited several defence allies in the middle-east and Europe.  Last month he hosted the defence delegations from 28 NATO countries and their partners at the NATO summit in Newport, Wales; arguably the most significant summit since the end of Cold War.

He wanted to reassure everyone that his current role does not affect his constituency work, which he very much values.  In addition to his regular advice surgeries he had also had meetings with Swanley Town Council, Healthwatch Kent, and Lloyds Bank Sevenoaks in the last few weeks.  He recently opened the new branch of Handelsbanken in Sevenoaks, launched a new current account at Sevenoaks Crown Post Office, and presented Swanley Station staff with a Secure Station Award.

Earlier that day he had spoken at the West Kent Partnership Business Engagement Event in Brands Hatch,  Plans for the following week would include a visit to West Kingsdown Primary School, attending the British Tour Car Championship Final Roadshow event at Brands Hatch and a parish meeting at Badgers Mount.  A business advice surgery will be held shortly and Swanley Jobs Fair is being organised for mid-October.

West Kent Partnership – Business Engagement

west kent partnershipMichael’s speech at this event highlighted the importance of vibrant SMEs in West Kent to the national economy.  Representing a constituency in West Kent, he said could see first-hand the entrepreneurial zeal of our local business owners and discussed how the Government is backing them.

It is no secret: small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy.  SMEs are the responsible for nearly half the job creation in the UK.  And it is job creation which is a central part of this Government’s economic and welfare plans.  I am sure you will all join with me in welcoming last week’s employment figures which showed that there are now more people in work than ever before.  In the constituency of Sevenoaks we saw the claimant count fall by 225 from August 2013 – August 2014.

It is thanks to the risk takers, the thinkers and the doers who run our SMEs that more people than ever before have the security of a pay package and the Government is backing you wholeheartedly.  But to be able to create the jobs for our economic recovery, SMEs have to do business in an economy which is business-friendly. That’s is why he was so pleased that the Government is backing them in a number of ways:  Michael said:
1.  Tax cuts
“I am a low-tax Conservative so I am pleased that small businesses will now feel the impact of several important tax cuts.  Corporation tax has fallen to 21 per cent; help on business rates has come in; and the landmark Employment Allowance will take up to £2,000 off employers’ National Insurance bills.”
2.  Apprenticeships
“Everyone attending this event will know the value of helping our young onto the career ladder. To help small businesses take on apprentices the Government is providing an extra £85 million for over 100,000 grants to employers, and from April 2015 employer’s national insurance contributions for those under-21 will be abolished, making it easier for businesses to take on more young people.”
3.  Red Tape
“I am perhaps most pleased by the needless red tape which has been cut and the net burden of regulation on business which has fallen by almost £1.5 billion since January 2011.  Speaking to businesses in my constituency, they all say the same thing, red tape and regulation has held them back in the past and we must continue to elevate this burden from them.”
4.  Energy Costs
“I know from my time as Minister for Business and Energy that small businesses are struggling with energy costs. To help them get a fairer deal, the Government has secured an agreement from the major energy firms to end auto-rollovers for business customers, limit back-billing, increase transparency of contract terms and make switching easier.”
5.  Regional Growth Fund/Escalate Programme
“It is essential to give local communities more autonomy to help rebalance our economy towards private-sector growth. Ministers are improving economic development at the regional level through Enterprise Zones and the £3.2 billion Regional Growth Fund.  Significant funding is also being devolved to Local Enterprise Partnerships to enable them to tackle barriers to growth in the private sector in their area.  Here in West Kent, we have already heard this morning of three success stories from the Escalate programme which is a £5.5 million scheme, funded by the Regional Growth Fund. Offering loans on an interest‐free basis to businesses has led to sustained job creation and business expansion.  Also, availability of business rate discounts and Enhanced Capital Allowance will each be extended by three years as an incentive for new and expanding businesses to locate in Enterprise Zones.”

“All over the country and especially here in West Kent, SME’s are driving forward economic growth through innovation and sheer hard work.  It is fantastic that there are now over two million new private sector jobs and 400,000 more businesses than in 2010.  So I encourage you all to continue to be part of the economic success story I look forward to watching you all go from strength to strength in the years to come.”

The Royal British Legion & the Armed Forces Covenant

_TOM7173Michael spoke at the Royal British Legion’s reception at the Conservative Party Conference recently.

Referring to the Armed Forces Covenant he said:  “It is particularly fitting, in the 100th year anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, to reflect on the importance of the Covenant.  Our armed forces today, like those of a hundred years ago, embody the best of British, and it is right we honour all that they do for our country.  We must never forget the willingness of our armed forces to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”

Importance of The Military Covenant
“The Military Covenant recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the armed forces and their families. This isn’t just about Government – it is about society’s commitment as a whole.”

“I am proud that this Government has enshrined the following principles in law:

  • that no current or former member of the armed forces, or their families should be disadvantaged compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services;
  • and that special consideration is appropriate especially for those who have given most such as the injured and bereaved.”

“Never again can the Covenant cease to be honoured.”

Government support
“Much progress has been made and I believe that the Covenant is making a real difference to members of the armed forces community – those who serve, whether regular or reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families.  We have achieved much in key areas including healthcare, education, and housing:

  • Introducing a service pupil premium and giving the Armed Forces priority to help their children find a place in school;
  • Investing £200 million in the Forces Help to Buy scheme enabling service personnel to get a foot on the housing ladder;
  • In July the Prime Minister announced 8 projects that will share nearly £20 million of funding to improve accommodation for armed forces veterans, including £2.5m for RBL;
  • And we are using the LIBOR fines to benefit our Armed Forces – using the penalties of the worst in society to benefit the best;
  • The Chancellor allocated an initial £35 million to projects ranging from special needs houses, to peer mentoring, and support for those dealing with mental health issues;
  • In July the Prime Minister announced the successful bidders for the £40 million Veterans Accommodation Fund;
  • I hope to shortly announce the successful projects as part of the LIBOR Childcare fund;
    And from next spring, we will make permanent a £10 million annual financial commitment.”

Community and corporate
“A big focus has been encouraging business and local authorities to do more:

  • All local authorities in Great Britain have signed up to the Community Covenant – meaning they are all now committed to supporting the armed forces family in their local communities;
  • Over 250 organisations have signed a Corporate Covenant committing to support the armed forces family through their business, including Reservists working for them;
  • And the Covenant has gone international. The Prime Minister personally championed the Armed Forces Declaration which at last month’s NATO Summit saw every Member signing up to honour and look after those whose work and sacrifices have delivered peace and security over the last 65 years.”

RBL Manifesto
“As Defence Secretary I am determined that we continue to strengthen the Covenant – it is an enduring commitment. And you the Royal British Legion play a vital part in that.  So I welcome the publication of your manifesto Building a Better Future for our Armed Forces Community – the first one of the General Election campaign”

“The RBL has outlined the many practical recommendations for strengthening the Covenant.  “I’m pleased that some we were already working:  on hearing aids, career transition plansand alcohol dependency I think we are making real progress. Others such as 18 week referrals I would be happy to look at evidence on. I can also assure you the war widows issue is being considered.  I’m sure you would like me to endorse them all but you will understand that I take the suggestions seriously and I want to give them due consideration.”

“In the meantime, I pay tribute to the excellent work RBL does and to all our serving men and women, veterans and their families, who do so much to keep us safe.”_TOM7197 _TOM7214_TOM7181royal british legion _TOM7189